How Oklahoma police took $53,000 from a Burmese Christian band, a church in Omaha and an orphanage in Thailand

Eh Wah had been on the road for 12 hours when he saw the flashing lights in his rear-view mirror.

The 40-year-old Texas man, a refugee from Burma who became a U.S. citizen more than a decade ago, was heading home to Dallas to check on his family. He was on a break from touring the country for months as a volunteer manager for the Klo & Kweh Music Team, a Christian rock ensemble from Burma, also known as Myanmar. The group was touring the United States to raise funds for a Christian college in Burma and an orphanage in Thailand.

Eh Wah managed the band’s finances, holding on to the cash proceeds it raised from ticket and merchandise sales at concerts. By the time he was stopped in Oklahoma, the band had held concerts in 19 cities across the United States, raising money via tickets that sold for $10 to $20 each.

The sheriff’s deputies in Muskogee County, Okla., pulled Eh Wah over for a broken tail light about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 27. The deputies started asking questions — a lot of them. And at some point, they brought out a drug-sniffing dog, which alerted on the car. That’s when they found the cash, according to the deputy’s affidavit.

There was the roughly $33,000 from ticket sales and donations, much of it earmarked for the religious college back in Burma, according to Eh Wah and the band members.

There was the $1,000 in cash donations to the orphanage in Thailand, small bills bundled in two or three dozen sealed envelopes with the orphanage’s name written on them.

There was $8,000 in cash from the band’s CD and souvenir sales. A $9,000 cash gift to one of the band’s members from his family and friends in Buffalo — cash that Eh Wah says he didn’t even know was in the blue and white gift bag he had been asked to hold. And $2,000 in cash for Eh Wah and the band’s incidental expenses on the trip: meals and tolls, for example.

All told, the deputies found $53,000 in cash in Eh Wah’s car that night. Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said he couldn’t comment on the particulars of Eh Wah’s case because of the open investigation, but it is clear from his deputy’s affidavit that the officers didn’t like Eh Wah’s explanation for how he got the cash. “Inconsistent stories,” the affidavit notes. Despite the positive alert from the drug-sniffing dog, no drugs, paraphernalia or weapons were found. Just the cash.

They took Eh Wah to the police station for more questioning. They let him drive his own car there, with deputies’ vehicles in front of and behind him the whole way. They interrogated him for several hours.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Eh Wah said in an interview. “An officer was telling me that ‘you are going to jail tonight.’ And I don’t know what to think. What did I do that would make me go to jail? I didn’t do anything. Why is he saying that?”

Eh Wah tried to explain himself, but he had difficulty because English isn’t his first language. He says he had a hard time understanding the officers, and they had a hard time understanding him. He told them about the band and his role with it and how he had been entrusted with the cash. He even had the officers call one of the band’s leaders, Saw Marvellous Soe, who had decamped to Miami while the band was on a break.

Marvellous saw Eh Wah’s number on his phone, but when he answered, he was surprised to hear someone speaking with a thick Southern drawl that he could barely understand — “like in the movies,” Marvellous said in an interview.

“The police officer started asking questions,” Marvellous recalled. “I explained: ‘We are a music team. We came here for a tour.'” Marvellous tried to explain that the band was from Burma.

“He kept telling me, ‘You are wrong, you are wrong,'” Marvellous said. “Everything I said, [he said,] ‘You are wrong.’ I said: ‘We are doing a good thing! And now you are accusing us of being like a drug dealer or something like that.'”

After that phone call, Eh Wah began to realize that no matter what he did or said, he wouldn’t be able to satisfy the officers’ questions. “I realized that they were seizing all of the money. I was like, ‘This can’t be happening.’ But I didn’t know what to do.”

The officers ended up taking all of the money — all $53,249 of it. “Possession of drug proceeds,” the property receipt reads. But they let Eh Wah go. They didn’t charge him with a crime that night, instead sending him back on the road about 12:30 a.m., with the broken tail light.

What happened to Eh Wah is known as civil asset forfeiture. It comes from a relatively obscure corner of the law that allows authorities to seize cash and property from people they suspect of a crime. In most states, and under federal law, authorities get to keep the proceeds regardless of whether the person is ever convicted, or even charged, with criminal wrongdoing.

Under civil forfeiture, the burden of proof is on the property owner to prove their innocence to get their stuff back. This turns the common criminal-law principle on its head: When it comes to civil forfeiture, you are guilty until proven innocent.

Two years ago a wide-ranging Washington Post investigation shined a spotlight on the practice, finding that, since Sept. 11, 2001, more than $2.5 billion in cash seizures had occurred on the nation’s highways without either a search warrant or an indictment. Those findings prompted some limited steps toward reform at the federal level.

But the forfeitures uncovered by The Post investigation, and the reforms taken to limit them, happened under the auspices of federal law. There is a completely different universe of forfeiture activity that happens strictly under state law.

Oklahoma has some of the most permissive forfeiture laws in the nation, according to a 2015 report by the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm. The group gave the state a D-minus on its civil forfeiture laws, citing no conviction required to forfeit, poor protections for innocent property owners and a statute that allows up to 100 percent of forfeiture proceeds to go directly back to law enforcement, creating a possible profit motive.

The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has been investigating the use of civil forfeiture in the state. Brady Henderson, the group’s legal director, said in an interview that Oklahoma law enforcement agencies often focus their efforts on the routes where cash from drug transactions typically travels, rather than the routes the drugs themselves travel.

In looking at the data of forfeitures along Interstate 40, which runs east to west through the state, “we definitely see a huge disparity of folks on those interstates focusing on the westbound travel, which tends to be the money here in Oklahoma,” Henderson said.

In essence, he says, authorities are letting the drugs get to their destinations and be sold and used so that police can grab the money from the drug sales on the return trip. This mirrors the behavior that watchdog groups and news organizations have observed in other states, such as Tennessee.

“If the whole notion is that drugs are destructive, that they hurt people, why are we letting the drugs hurt people?” he asked. “We are deliberately letting the drugs get to their final destination, get sold, get used, and in some cases letting someone die of an overdose.”

The road that Eh Wah was traveling — U.S. Route 69 — often carries traffic from the drug trade, according to Pearson, the Muskogee County sheriff. Pearson said in an interview that although he is aware that other sheriff’s departments focus their efforts on the southbound cash side of the highway instead of the northbound side where the drugs travel, that’s not the practice in his department. “We work both sides of the highway,” he said.

With Route 69 running north-south and Interstate 40 running east-west through the county, drug trafficking is a big problem in the area, he said.

“I’m not in favor of taking away anyone’s civil rights or anything like that,” Pearson said. But, he noted, “this is still our community, and when they’re bringing their drugs in, we’re going to do everything in our power to stop it.”

In an interview, Eh Wah’s attorney, Dan Alban, noted that while the deputies took all of the cash, they left Eh Wah a check written out to him for $300 from a family friend.

“If they really thought these were drug proceeds and they thought he was a drug trafficker, why would they give back a check that they thought was drug proceeds?” Alban asked. But, he said, “if the real purpose of the stop was to increase revenue, there’s no point in keeping the check because they can’t cash the check.”

Muskogee County authorities eventually charged Eh Wah with a crime, five weeks after he was stopped. They issued a warrant for his arrest April 5, for the crime of “acquir[ing] proceeds from drug activity, a felony.” For probable cause, the authorities noted the positive alert from the drug dog, “inconsistent stories” and said Eh Wah was “unable to confirm the money was his.”

Drug-sniffing dogs are notoriously prone to giving false positives. A Chicago Tribune study of three years worth of drug dog data found that the animals’ positive alerts led to the discovery of drugs only 44 percent of the time. A controlled study by researchers from the University of California at Davis found that detection dogs gave false positives 85 percent of the time.

People who know Eh Wah say they are flabbergasted at the notion that Oklahoma considers him a drug trafficker. “It is very, very strange for us, for the whole Karen community,” Marvellous, the band member, said, referring to the Burmese ethnic minority that Eh Wah and Marvellous belong to.

“Eh Wah doesn’t even know how to smoke. Eh Wah doesn’t know how to drink beer,” he said. “He’s a very simple man, simple and straight.”

The musical ensemble was playing concerts for Burmese Christian communities stretching from Utica, N.Y., to Bakersfield, Calif.. They were raising money for the Dr. T. Thanbyah Christian Institute, a religious liberal arts college in Burma serving the Karen community there. They had also collected funds for the Hsa Thoo Lei orphanage in Thailand, which serves internally displaced Karen people.

Eh Wah worked at a refugee resettlement agency in Dallas, helping Karen people like him start new lives in the United States and escape persecution back home. So the Klo & Kweh Music Team naturally turned to him for help in planning and executing the U.S. tour.

The work was exhausting and stressful, but it was rewarding. Eh Wah secured all of the proper visas for the band members. He lined up a 23-city tour schedule spanning four months. He made sure that all 11 band members showed up at the right places at the right times.

Eh Wah is quiet and humble almost to a fault. When I spoke with him on the phone, I could barely make out the words he was saying. “Normally, I’m a very quiet person,” he explained. “I don’t talk a lot. The way I live my life, I never thought that I would go somewhere like jail, that I would have to explain myself with all these things that I never have done in my life,” he added. “I don’t even know what the drugs look like.”

The Institute for Justice has taken up Eh Wah’s case pro bono. It’s also representing the band, the Omaha church that sponsored the band members’ visas, the band’s audio technician and the orphanage in Thailand in their challenge of the seizure of the money.

The institute says that Eh Wah’s case is the tip of a large iceberg when it comes to civil forfeiture on the nation’s highways. “This sort of thing is happening all the time,” said Dan Alban, a lawyer with the institute. The general contours of this particular case are not unique, he said.

“What’s unique is the back story that they were raising all this money for charity, getting a few thousand bucks here and there. Months on the road and then all their money is taken away because Eh Wah’s car has a broken tail light in Muskogee County.”

Last week, the Institute for Justice filed paperwork with a district court in Oklahoma challenging the seizure and demanding the immediate return of the cash. They’re also working to get the criminal charge against Eh Wah thrown out.

Marvellous said he is astonished that something like this could happen in the United States. He said he always has held a high opinion of the country and has been grateful for how Americans opened their doors to Karen refugees like Eh Wah.

“We thought America was the best in the world,” he said. “But unfortunately this happened, and it made us [think] like American police are the same as our police in Burma.”

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Big Pharma is making you stupid: Common cold medicines and heartburn pills found to shrink the brain and slow thinking

If you find yourself forgetting more than usual, or you sometimes feel like your mind is not as sharp as it once was, you might want to take a look inside your medicine cabinet.

Older people in particular are being advised to avoid some common over-the-counter medications, as evidence piles up of their connection to thinking problems and memory loss.

A study by the Indiana University School of Medicine, published in JAMA Neurology, used brain scans to explore the impact of some common medications on brain metabolism and atrophy in 451 participants. Among this group, 60 people were taking one or more medications that have medium or high anticholinergic activity.

To reach their conclusions, the researchers used PETs to measure brain metabolism, MRIs to scan brain structure, and a series of cognitive and memory tests.

They found that those patients who were taking the anticholinergic drugs registered worse performances on the tests than older patients who did not take this type of drug. Some of the areas where performance declines were noted included planning, verbal reasoning, short-term memory and problem solving.

Perhaps even more alarmingly, the MRIs showed that those who took the drugs had smaller brain volume and bigger ventricles.

In addition, they had lower levels of glucose metabolism in their brains in general, and in the hippocampus in particular, which is the area of the brain responsible for memory, and is commonly affected in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Effects noted even after discontinuing treatment

Researcher Dr. Shannon Risacher said: “These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.”

“Given all the research evidence, physicians might want to consider alternatives to anticholinergic medications if available when working with their older patients.”

Some of the medicines in question include treatments for allergies, hay fever, colds, flu, depression, gout, diarrhea, asthma and heartburn. These effects were even noted a month after treatment ended.

Past studies have linked these drugs to a heightened dementia risk and an increased likelihood of falls. A 2013 study found that these drugs could lead to cognitive problems after just 60 days of use. Another study found a link between anticholinergic toxicity and constipation, dry mouth, delirium, visual impairments and confusion, in addition to severe cognitive decline.

Making matters worse is the fact that many older people actually take more than one of these drugs together on a regular basis. For example, they might take an allergy medication and a heartburn medicine at the same time.

Another good reason to stick to natural medicine

It’s not hard to imagine why Big Pharma would put these drugs on the market. They are all about the bottom line, and dismissive of side effects in general. In fact, impairing people’s cognitive function works to their advantage as well, because people might be more inclined to simply accept whatever lines they feed them about the medications they need and their efficacy and safety, without questioning it.

You could even take it one step further and argue that memory decline might result in people taking their medication more than once because they forgot they already took it, driving up demand and selling even more pills.

Sound outrageous? Big Pharma doesn’t care about the damage vaccines have done to countless individuals, and this is just another matter for them to shrug off as they collect their paychecks. This is why more and more people are turning to natural medicine, which generally does not carry such dangerous side effects. The Natural Medicine Summit is one good way to inform yourself about healthier alternatives to medication for a variety of ailments.

Dangerous substances are not limited to medications; they can even be found in the food you buy in stores, as noted by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, in his book Food Forensics. Clean eating is another good way to protect yourself from toxins and prevent getting sick in the first place, so that you don’t need to turn to dangerous drugs.

Sources include:

DailyMail.co.uk

Science.NaturalNews.com

FoodForensics.com

NaturalMedicineSummit.com

Science.NaturalNews.com

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This State Just DECLARED WAR On Obama & His Muslim Refugees! – BREAKING NEWS

Muslim Refugees

The state of Tennessee is not happy with President Barack Obama’s Muslim refugee resettlement program… And they are taking action!

The Tennessee General Assembly just voted to sue Obama’s Federal government over the refugees, based on the 10th Amendment. It passed in the state house by 69 to 25, and the state senate by 29 to 4.

It’s clear that elected leaders in TN are looking out for the safety of their citizens, and are ready to stand up to Obama in a huge way:

Today we struck a blow for Liberty by finally adopting SJR467,” State Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville), the co-sponsor of the resolution who shepherded it through the State Senate, tells Breitbart News.

“The General Assembly clearly understands the importance of public safety and state sovereignty as demonstrated by the overwhelming support of this Resolution for which we are thankful. The Syrian surge heightens our sense of urgency to get this properly before the courts, and we urge the Attorney General to act without delay,” Norris adds.

Tennessee, which withdrew from the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program in 2008, will now become the first state to sue the federal government over its operation of the program within the borders of its state on Tenth Amendment grounds. Alabama and Texas are currently suing the federal government over the refugee resettlement program on the narrower grounds that it has failed to comply with the Refugee Act of 1980.

“As a state legislator, it is my duty to fulfill my oath and to exercise Constitutional authority,” House sponsor State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) tells Breitbart News.

“I take it seriously to do all I can to protect the sovereignty of our great state. Either we abide by the Tenth Amendment or we ignore it,” she adds.

“It’s time for states to say no more federal overreach and [I] really believe that the federal government was created by the states and not the other way around,” Weaver says.

Via Breitbart

This resolution is well timed, as the Obama White House just announced the time they will take “vetting” Syrian Muslim refugees will be three months, instead of 2 years. That’s because Obama is trying to meet his goal of importing at least 10,000 refugees by September.

There is no doubt that many refugees have been tied to terrorist organizations, and there’s no way to do sufficient background checks. There is no excuse for importing dangerous refugees into America, and it’s up to each state to join TN in fighting the Obama administration’s dangerous activity by taking them to court!

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Former president of the Czech Republic says Indoctrination of Children is Worse Now Than During the Final Stages of the Soviet Union

He goes on to say that communism is being disguised as globalism, feminism, political correctness, etc. The Berlin wall didn’t come down because communism was dead, it came down because communism existed on both sides of it, only going under other names.  Starts at about 16 minutes.

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Admiral Gene LaRocqu

Follow · February 11 ·

I had been in thirteen battle engagements, had sunk a submarine, and was the first man ashore in the landing at Roi. In that four years, I thought, What a hell of a waste of a man’s life. I lost a lot of friends. I had the task of telling my roommate’s parents about our last days together. You lose limbs, sight, part of your life—for what? Old men send young men to war. Flags, banners, and patriotic sayings.

We are unique in the world, a nation of thirty million war veterans. We’re the only country in the world that’s been fighting a war since 1940. Count the wars—Korea, Vietnam—count the years. We have built up in our body politic a group of old men who look upon military service as a noble adventure.

We’ve always gone somewhere else to fight our wars, so we’ve not really learned about its horror. Seventy percent of our military budget is to fight somewhere else.

We’ve institutionalized militarism. This came out of World War Two. In 1947, we passed the National Security Act. You can’t find that term—national security—in any literature before that year. It created the Department of Defense. Up till that time, when you appropriated money for the War Department, you knew it was for war and you could see it clearly. Now it’s for the Department of Defense. Everybody’s for defense. Otherwise you’re considered unpatriotic. So there’s absolutely no limit to the money you must give to it. So they’ve captured all the Christians: the right of self-defense. Even the “just war” thing can be wrapped into it.

We never had a Joint Chiefs of Staff before. In World War Two, there was a loose coalition, but there was no institution. It gave us the National Security Council. It gave us the CIA, that is able to spy on you and me this very moment. For the first time in the history of man, a country has divided up the world into military districts. No nation in the world has done that before or has done it since. They have a military solution for everything that happens in their area.

Our military runs our foreign policy. The State Department simply goes around and tidies up the messes the military makes. The State Department has become the lackey of the Pentagon. Before World War Two, this never happened. You had a War Department, you had a Navy Department. Only if there was a war did they step up front. The ultimate control was civilian. World War Two changed all this.

I don’t think I’ve changed. I was a good ship captain. I was tough. I worked like the devil to see that my ship and my men were the best. I loved the sea and still do. I think the United States has changed. It got away from the idea of trying to settle differences by peaceful means. Since World War Two, we began to use military force to get what we wanted in the world. That’s what military is all about. Not long ago, the Pentagon proudly announced that the U.S. had used military force 215 times to achieve its international goals since World War Two. The Pentagon likes that: military force to carry out national will.

I was in Vietnam. I saw the senseless waste of human beings. I saw this bunch of marines come off this air-conditioned ship. Nothing was too good for our sailors, soldiers, and marines. We send ’em ashore as gung ho young nineteen-year-old husky nice-looking kids and bring ’em back in black rubber body bags. There are a few little pieces left: over, some entrails and limbs that don’t fit in the bags. Then you take a fire hose and you hose down the deck and push that stuff over the side.

I myself volunteered to go to Vietnam and fight. I didn’t question whether it was in the nation’s interest. I was a professional naval officer and there was a war. I hope as we get older, we get smarter. You could argue World War Two had to be fought. Hitler had to be stopped.

World War Two has warped our view of how we look at things today. We see things in terms of that war, which in a sense was a good war. But the twisted memory of it encourages the men of my generation to be willing, almost eager, to use military force anywhere in the world.

For about twenty years after the war, I couldn’t look at any film on World War Two. It brought back memories that I didn’t want to keep around. I hated to see how they glorified war. In all those films, people get blown up with their clothes and fall gracefully to the ground. You don’t see anybody being blown apart. You don’t see arms and legs and mutilated bodies. You see only an antiseptic, clean, neat way to die gloriously.

I hate it when they say, “He gave his life for his country.” Nobody gives their life for anything. We steal the lives of these kids. We take it away from them. They don’t die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them…..Admiral Gene Larocque

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Police arrest man accused of exposing himself in Target bathroom

CEDAR PARK, TEXAS – Authorities have arrested the man accused of exposing himself to a 9-year-old boy inside a Cedar Park Target bathroom in February.

According to KVUE’s partners at the Austin American-Statesman, Roel Anthony Vasquez, 27, was charged with indecency with a child by exposure. Cedar Park police said in February that he exposed himself to the boy at the Target along the 1100 block of C-Bar Ranch on Feb. 24.

Williamson County Jail records state he was booked and released April 6 after posting $25,000 bond.

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Police: Peeping tom caught filming women in Brentwood Target dressing rooms

Police: Peeping tom caught filming women in Brentwood Target dressing rooms

Posted: May 28, 2015 2:14 PM MST Updated: Apr 26, 2016 4:49 PM MST

Matthew Foerstel, 26, faces felony charges for invasion of privacy and unlawful possession of a firearm. Matthew Foerstel, 26, faces felony charges for invasion of privacy and unlawful possession of a firearm.

BRENTWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) – An O’Fallon, Missouri man was arrested on April 23 after allegedly secretly filming women in a Target dressing room.

Matthew Foerstel, 26, faces felony charges for invasion of privacy in the second degree and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Foerstel has a plea hearing on Monday, May 2.

The Brentwood Police Department arrested Foerstel on April 23 after he allegedly held a camera phone under a dressing room door while a female shopper tried on swim suits at the Target store in Brentwood.

An officer went to Ranken Technical College to place Foerstel under arrest and reportedly found him in possession of a loaded handgun.

In 2013, Foerstel was convicted of invasion of privacy in St. Charles County for “knowingly and intentionally” filming an 11-year-old girl while she was partially nude inside a department store dressing room.

Foerstel served a one year sentence for the offense in the St. Charles County Jail.

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BOMBSHELL: John Kasich Has A Sex Scandal About To EXPLODE!?!

GOD does not bless the wicked and the perverts.

You can hardly tell the whores apart. Both welfare whores one corporate the other social.

The Communist Zionist Jews have pushed this crap along with the unjust.

Some call it inclusion others call in infiltration.

John Kasich gay

It is unclear why Ohio Governor John Kasich remains in this race. A self-described moderate who supports Obamacare and Common Core, Kasich has tried to be the liberal media’s favorite candidate for President.

He’s stumbled along the way, and right now he’s under intense pressure by the Republican establishment to drop out. His victory in Ohio against conservative businessman Donald Trump changed the delegate math, and he’s also taken just enough delegates away from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to be a problem for him, too.

And while Kasich has been married twice and has children, old rumors are being explored about his past. It appears almost all of Kasich’s inner circle seems to be homosexual moderate Republicans. That’s hardly a scandal, but what exactly are Kasich’s relationships with them?

Apparently, Kasich has a weekly dinner meeting with friends who happen to be gay, and lived with a gay man for years while serving in Congress. Is this all usual behavior for a married, straight male?

Here is the unverified email which has been circulating on political message boards. This is going viral just as the Republican presidnetial primary becomes the most controversial, just before the RNC convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

From: German Village Gadfly <germanvillagegadfly@gmail.com>
Subject: John Kasich and Gay Hypocrisy
To: germanvillagegadfly@gmail.com

To Whom It May Concern:

Someone should be looking into the likely Republican nominee for governor. John Kasich is another one of the those “pro-family” Republicans who is gay. He’s voted against gay marriage and gay adoption but is well known to be a homosexual and to surround himself with equally hypocritical gays.

This has been an open secret for almost 18 years. Kasich is married with young twins, but he only recently was married.

http://www.newshounds.us/2007/08/30/john_kasich_avoids_pointing_out_craigs_hypocrisy.php

– While in Congress Kasich lived with his chief of staff, Don Thibaut (gay), in Washington DC for 14 years. This has been published extensively and a member of Congress even called for an investigation into it.

– While in Congress, Kasich used to fly home on Thursdays for dinner at an italian restaurant in Columbus called Rapollo’s. He dined every Thursday with the same two young men. A current Democratic state senator from Southeast Ohio used to wait on him regularly. Today, Kasich denies ever setting foot in Rapollo’s or even hearing of it.

– Don Thibaut now lives in German Village in Columbus. Kasich is a frequent after hours visitor there.

– Kasich’s campaign is being run by gay men. His team consists of Doug Preisse (openly gay). Preisse came out two years ago in a Columbus Dispatch article. He is also chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party. He is a protégé of Alex Arshinkoff, a notorious gay from Akron who chairs the Summit County Republican Party.

http://oshaughnessy.typepad.com/256/linked_files/Preisse_text.txt

Arshinkoff is also on the Kaisch campaign team. He has been pulled over by police after picking up a young man at 2:30am in Akron and soliciting him for sex. There is a police report and it’s been published in several papers. He’s also regularly spotted in gay bars in Cleveland. It is well known around Columbus that Arshinkoff made a
sexual advance toward one of his local state senators while driving him in his corvette including groping his leg.

These issues are further complicated because not only did Governor Kasich oppose the Gay Marriage Amendment to Ohio’s state constitution approved by voters in 2004, but he now opposes any efforts to push back against the Supreme Court’s historic pro-gay marriage ruling. In fact, he has even attended gay weddings:

“The court has ruled, and I said we’ll accept it,” Kasich said last week in Cleveland during the GOP’s first presidential debate, in response to a question about how he would explain his position on same-sex marriage to one of his daughters if she were gay.

“And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay,” Kasich continued, drawing applause from a home-court audience at The Q.

“Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them,” he added, the applause growing louder. “Because you know what? That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.”

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The Ames E-tool U.S. Military tri- fold shovel VIDEO

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My wife and I are white evangelicals. Here’s why we chose to give birth to black triplets. “You cant make this stuff up!”


Courtesy of Aaron Halbert

As I have made the stroll from my wife’s hospital room to the NICU these past few days it has been hard to fathom the way that our family has been put together.

This past Sunday, my gorgeous wife – a white evangelical, like me — gave birth to our beautiful African-American triplet daughters whom we adopted as embryos. These sweet girls will hopefully soon be coming home to meet their 3-year-old African-American brother and 2-year-old biracial sister, both of whom we adopted as infants. The normalcy of this paragraph is something I have come to take for granted. Yet what seems to us to be the logical outcome of being pro-life is still something that to others often needs much explaining.

[Here’s how it works when a couple adopts through our Christian embryo bank]

I grew up as a child of evangelical missionaries in Honduras, very aware of racial diversity because I was the blue-eyed, cotton-topped white kid who stuck out like a sore thumb, but all the while felt deeply connected to the people there, even though we looked very different. My wife, on the other hand, grew up in the delta of Mississippi and it wasn’t until she took a few trips to Haiti that the veil of racial prejudice was lifted from her eyes. One of the central themes of Christianity is, after all, that God, through His Son, is calling people from every tongue, tribe and nation. Grasping diversity will make the world stronger as we marvel at God’s creative genius on display through His people’s varying pigments, personalities and proficiencies. Our differences are cause for celebration, not scorn.

[When you’re facing infertility, a synagogue can be the most painful place to go. Let’s change that.]

When we were still dating, a common bond that drew us together was the fact that Rachel and I both wanted to adopt. While we were fertile, we were both deeply convicted that one of the ways to be pro-life is to involve ourselves in adoption. Several years into our marriage, even as we were pursuing the idea of returning to Honduras as missionaries with the Presbyterian Church in America, we visited an adoption agency in Mississippi, where we were living at the time. We were also trying at the time to conceive naturally. Knowing that it is often more challenging to find adoptive homes in the United States for non-Caucasian children we informed the agency that we were willing to accept any child except a fully Caucasian child. We did this with the deeply held conviction that if the Lord wanted us to have a fully Caucasian child my wife would conceive naturally.

We see protection of children not as charity, nor as part of a political agenda, but as something near to the heart of God. Because every human life bears his image, all life –no matter how young or old, no matter the stages of development — has inherent dignity and value. The Scriptures testify that God has always pleaded for the protection of his most helpless and needy image-bearers. Another prevalent theme of the Bible is that God adopts believers into his own family. When we adopt, we are echoing his own compassionate work, giving the world a glimpse of the truth and beauty of the gospel.

What is embryo donation?

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The use of embryo donations is increasingly becoming an option for couples and individuals who want to conceive a child. Here’s what you need to know about it. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

[Why this election makes me hate the word ‘evangelical’]

When we began the adoption process we knew race could play a major role in our family dynamics, which led us to ponder deeply what a racially diverse family would look like. We believe when you look into any human’s eyes, you look into the face of an image-bearer of God – into the eyes of a person whose soul is eternal. While that is the common thread of all humanity, it doesn’t mean our racial differences are insignificant. We see the human family’s varying physical characteristics as awesome reminders of God’s creative brilliance. It’s not that we think race doesn’t exist, or that we don’t see it. In fact, it’s the opposite – we see it, and we embrace it.

There is something beautiful and enriching being the only white face sitting and chatting with some of my African-American friends as my son gets his hair cut on a Saturday morning. There is also something wonderful in the relationship that is built as my wife asks a black friend on Facebook how to care for our little biracial daughter’s hair. The beauty of a multi-ethnic family is found there, in the fact that the differences are the very thing that make ours richer and fuller. It forces you to think in a new way about the way you think, speak, act and live.

But, we knew, especially in the South, that a white couple with non-white children would draw a myriad of different reactions. There will always be the older white woman in Walmart who stared at us with sheer disgust, or the African-American mother who looked at us and just shook her head. However, there was also the young black girl who wept when we told her this little boy with her skin color was our son, and the older white doctor who lovingly prayed over him and held him so tenderly. These latter experiences were rays of hope reminding us how far our country had come, while the former experiences reminded us how far we still need to go.

[Abortion, Down Syndrome and the throwaway culture: Why the left has to grapple with Pope Francis]

It was our commitment to the protection of the unborn and to the idea of continuing to add to our family that led us, last year, to the National Embryo Donation Center, a Christian embryo bank. With our adopted children keeping us busy, we hadn’t been exactly looking for anything to add to our already-full plate. However we had recently run into a couple who highly encouraged us to look into embryo adoption. We were deeply moved by the idea of adding more children to our family by rescuing these tiny lives created from in-vitro fertilization, and intrigued by the thought of Rachel getting to experience pregnancy.

We live in a world with hundreds of thousands of embryos frozen in the United States alone. Most who aren’t selected by their biological parents are donated to science or destroyed or kept frozen. If Christians – or others – really believe life begins at conception, it follows that we should respond by being willing to support embryo adoption and even take part in it ourselves.

[How should Muslim parents and teachers talk to children about Donald Trump?]

When we met with the NEDC, we were again faced with the question of what ethnicity we would choose for our adopted embryos. We wanted additional siblings to feel connected to our first two children racially, and asked the team at the NEDC if we could be matched with African-American embryos. They agreed with our thoughts about our kids matching each other racially and were supportive of the decision to select African American embryos.

In September of last year, we had two embryos implanted and began the long wait to see whether the transfer was successful. The day to visit the doctor could not come fast enough. Six weeks after the transfer we made a very nervous trip to the local hospital in Honduras, where we were serving as full-time missionaries. We began to describe everything to our doctor in Spanish (broken Spanish, that is). He asked us a few times if we were sure that we had transferred two embryos. Yes, of course we were sure, we said. However, one of those embryos had split in two inside Rachel’s womb. She was indeed pregnant- not only with twins, but triplets!

It’s been heartening to see virtually all of our friends and family express overwhelming support for our family and the unusual ways we’ve built it. In our minds, we are just living out our dream. A dream that may not look like the average family, but one that we are thankful could come true in light of our country’s history. It’s especially encouraging to see so many of our fellow millennial evangelicals now placing a high priority on life, adoption and multi-ethnic families.

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[The year of ‘enormous rage’: The number of hate groups rose by 14 percent in 2015]

I felt sheer delight during this pregnancy watching my son and daughter, with his dark brown skin and her with the ringlet hair and slightly tan skin, kiss my white wife’s growing belly. Each evening they said good night to those three growing little girls in her belly, and now they get to finally say sweet dreams to their baby sisters — face-to-adorable-face.

This is not the way we planned it 12 years ago when we were dating and talking about adoption, but oh, how thankful we are for God blessing us with these sweet little ones He has placed in our care. I can remember a friend going through the adoption process telling me he had always wanted his family to look like a little United Nations. As I look at my growing family, I prefer to take it a step further, daring to hope that our family picture is a little hint of Heaven.

Aaron Halbert is a missionary serving in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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